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Antoine's Double Trouble

Antoine's Double Trouble

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Antoine's Double Trouble

Length:
268 pages
4 hours
Released:
Oct 1, 2014
ISBN:
9781310547003
Format:
Book

Description

Antoine Rucker leads a double life. During the day, he's a young twenty-something up and coming Black IT Executive for a major insurance company in Downtown Atlanta, Georgia. On weekend nights, he's a street hustler turning tricks near the infamous Bulldogs Bar. He's smart, a graduate of Morehouse College. He's being groomed for for his company's new CIO (Chief Information Officer) However, Antoine wrestles with inner demons that drive him to the streets and into the arms of misfit and wounded men. Will Antoine's sordid nightlife catch up with him? Will he ever get the monkey off his back?

Excerpt:
The next morning when I got up to use the restroom, I heard my Mother in the study. I walked to the door and stood watching as she kneeled scrubbing the wall along the baseboards. My stomach quivered. I felt like a little boy caught doing something wrong. She sensed my presence and turned around.
“A rat pissed on this wall. Before you leave, I want you to buy some poison and put down some traps. I told John there were rats in this house. But nooo, he didn’t believe me. And when he finally saw one, you know what he said?” She looked at me. I shrugged. “He said they were God’s creatures. If Noah could tolerate two, we can tolerate one.” She laughed. “That man was a mess.”
The belt lay on top of the desk, where I had left it. Mama continued scrubbing the wall and talking to herself. “I will not have rats in my house. He would leave me to have to deal with this, do what he should have done when he was alive. Rats pissing all over everything, just like his sisters think they’re going to piss all over me.”
I picked up the belt. “Why didn’t you stop him, Mama?”
“Oh you know, your Father was as stubborn as ten mules. If that man didn’t want to do something, he didn’t do it.”
“Not the rats--this.”
She looked at me holding the belt in my hand. “What are you talking about?”
“You know what I’m talking about.”
Mama looked away, dipped her sponge in the bucket, and sloshed sudsy water on the wall. She ignored the mess she made on her pants. “Put that thing away. Your Father is dead. Let him rest in peace.”

Released:
Oct 1, 2014
ISBN:
9781310547003
Format:
Book

About the author

Charles Harvey taught and practised astrology for over 30 years. His books include ‘Working with Astrology’, ‘Mundane Astrology’ and ‘Sun Sign, Moon Sign’. He was co-ordinator with Liz Greene of The Centre of Psychological Astrology and died in 2000.

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Antoine's Double Trouble - Charles Harvey

Stories

Epigraphs

Night Clothes

The best time to be naked is 3:00 am

Black velvet skin is the proper attire

As you stand on your balcony

Stroking the night

A little drink, a little smoke, a little lonely.

There ought to be other men

Standing on their porches too

Aiming the red tips of their cigarettes

At you.

Charles Harvey

A man ain’t his skin. He’s deeper than that, baby.

Antoine Rucker

Dedication

TO OUR SECRET LIVES

Maura and Her Two Husbands

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Antoine's Double Trouble

Part I – The Monkey on His Back

Chapter 1 - Antoine Rucker

I DON'T KNOW WHY I stand on the corner of Juniper and Peachtree while men cruise in their cars gawking at me like I'm a piece of meat hanging on a hook. If you're the unsympathetic kind of dude, you'll say, Nigga, you’re selling your ass because you want to. I could blame my burden on a higher power. Not all Gods reside in Heaven. Sometimes the Devil sends a monkey to ride your back. Boy, when that ape rides me, I’m like a crack addict needing a fix. My trouble starts in the wee hours Wednesday morning when the monkey drives me out of bed and I go stand on my balcony butt naked.

Winter or summer, rain or dry, when the moon is like a dagger or as round as a white dinner plate, you’ll see my naked ass standing in front of the Elephant Ears on my patio. In the cold, I shiver until my teeth chatter and piss runs down my legs. But I love summer nights standing under a warm rainfall. Nothing beats soft rainwater caressing your body. I like to lean back and feel the raindrops pelting me between the legs. My hard dick lies against my belly and the cool water soaks my balls. I stroke myself slow at first, using rain and spit as a lube. The red tip of my cigarette acts as a beacon. Across the courtyard, I see them adjusting their Venetian blinds. My lamp burns low in my living room behind me outlining my silhouette framed in leaves and burnt orange lighting. I’m sure I’d make a hot postcard or magazine cover. Blinds turn and curtains are pushed to the side. More eyes are on me as I jack-off. In a moment my thoughts turn to my stepfather. His face appears and then floats away in the cigarette’s smoke. My sperm splatters the concrete like spit. I inhale deep, exhale, toss the cigarette, and go back to bed. That’s the beginning. The monkey’s got two more days to ride.

At last Friday morning comes. I rush out of bed; eat a bowl of Cheerios, shit, shave, and shower. I slow down to catch my breath and dress. The full-length mirror captures my dick hanging to the left like it’s annoyed with my right thigh. A scar—courtesy of my stepfather, runs from my hipbone to my ass cheek. I like this scar. "It gives your ass character," a guy once told me. Otherwise, I’m smooth and tan as melted caramels. I dress like a man preparing for his wedding. My Brooks Brothers jacket fits like it’s sewn to my body. My red tie with blue stripes hangs like a dick down my chest. Pink panties trimmed in lace keep my manhood in place. The wool blend pants caress and outline my ass cheeks that I call Mars and Venus. When I was younger, I used to shake them so hard, they acted like they were fighting each other. I snatch my leather messenger bag with Antoine Rucker monogrammed in gold above the latch, and head out the door. On the windshield of my BMW, I find an envelope tucked under the wipers. Inside is a single one-hundred-dollar bill. I toss it in the glove compartment. More than a dozen envelopes are mixed with the expired insurance cards, registration, and the car’s black leather emergency kit. A Security Officer waves as the gates open and I speed away from my ritzy apartment community, Park224 in Buckhead Atlanta.

My office is on the twentieth floor of Equitable Insurance’s forty-story emerald tower in Atlanta’s heart. I’m second in command of the insurance company’s Information Technology Department. I oversee the activities of three hundred souls in Network, Programming, and Infrastructure. Six Managers report directly to me. I report only to the CIO (Chief Information Officer), who answers to the CFO (Chief Financial Officer), who reports to the CEO. In the company’s organizational chart, I’m three squares from Andy Scott, Equitable’s head honcho. The nickname for Data Services is The Pyramid, and I’m its Pharaoh. I touch every facet of business except the private Family Group—the descendants of the founder. None of what I just said means shit to you. Sometimes it doesn’t mean shit to me. The monkey tells me all the time, that I ain’t shit.

Equitable had their eyes on me before I graduated from Morehouse College. In my senior year, I had rewritten the college’s antiquated financial aid program because my check was two months late. IT Magazine did a small write-up about me. Equitable saw it and snatched me up as soon as I graduated. I was the youngest and highest paid Manager of Programming Solutions in the company’s history. It only took me three years and a mild ulcer to make it to VP. All day I spit complex code like a sphinx speaking in riddles. I run my mouth to shutdown the monkey and the shit he whispers in my ear. My belly is constantly tight and rumbles as if I’m hungry. Well, in a way I am starving. I pace in my office from the couch to the window like a lion. The slightest error from man or machine makes me roar.

"What kind of idiot leaves the backup power supply on a primary server unplugged? Fuck blaming the cleaning crew. Your Operations staff is supposed to monitor the goddamn thing. Maybe your stupid ass ought to be on the cleaning crew."

The victim of my wrath thinks I’m yelling because of their incompetence. After they’ve left my office with their chin in their chest, I rub my rumbling belly. My dick strains against the nylon panties. I’m not satisfied and storm out of the office to find other bullshit to growl about. My gnawing hunger grows. My hands itch. Overwhelmed and frantic, I sit on the toilet in the men’s room and try to stroke my cock. It lays limp like a piece of liver. A voice inside me says, Not yet, motherfucker. Wait until tonight.

After lunch, I’ve calmed down and banter back and forth with my staff. My direct reports love to hate me. I’m Rucker or Tony, Jekyll or Hyde, depending on who’s talking. My superiors respect me. The company is grooming me for a higher calling—like CIO. I’m already a six-figure VP. The monkey doesn’t care about any of that. In meetings, he sits on my shoulder mocking me, telling me I’m not worth the spit from a man’s mouth. "You’re a panty-waist. If it weren’t true, you’d kill me. Come on, nigga, fight me. Don’t just stare at me with them pretty eyes." I squeeze my temple trying to silence my stepfather. If someone asks me what’s wrong, I blame it on a headache or stomach trouble.

The clock ticks like a faucet dripping in the ocean. It takes all day Thursday and all day Friday to get nowhere. Then Friday evening comes and the five o’ clock bell rings. My colleagues and I pour out of the Equitable Building. I spurn invitations for dates from girls with a lie about having to go and visit my sick parents in Valdosta. They shrug disappointed and offer canned sympathy. To avoid my coworkers waiting for the bus or the Red Line MARTA to take them to Buckhead, I dart through a narrow alley that runs behind the Emerald Tower’s parking garage and wind up on Spring Street two blocks away. I have no intention of heading to Park224. The BMW stays parked in the garage. I take the Green Line MARTA from downtown Atlanta and get off at Ralph David Abernathy Drive and Queen Street. By the time my feet hit the broken sidewalk, my tie and jacket are stuffed in my bag. I’m trying to blend in, but dudes at the corner liquor store cut their eyes at me. I walk too proud. The sun makes my arms shine like honey. My low fade is too clean. The Italian loafers and the messenger bag mark me as somebody from another world. I’m not one of them—yet.

Broken bottles and trash greet me as I turn into the courtyard of Abernathy Courts. A blast of hot wind from the laundry room and stale cigarette greet me. Stepping over a dude sprawled on the stairs; I turn the key in the door of my little flat. Kenneth Brown’s home sweet home," I say to myself.

You’re a lying ass, the monkey says. Your mama named you Antoine after your no-good daddy. I gave you my name, Rucker to keep you from being a bastard. Your name isn’t Kenneth Brown.

I throw my bag across the room to make the monkey shut up. I get a whiff of something hot and foul as he runs past me to hide in a corner. Inside the darkened apartment, I shed my clothes, roll a blunt, and lie naked on the bed. I smoke and scratch my itchy nuts bound up all day in nylon. It feels good to be free. My chrome lamps, leather sofas, and king-size bed atop a solid mahogany base are miles away. This is my slumming den.  I call it the Dawg House. The room plus kitchenette is sparse, raw, and filthy. My bed is a cum-stained mattress on naked box springs. It sits high on rusted iron legs surrounded by trash and shit-crusted drawers. The piss-stained toilet leaks all over the bathroom linoleum. Roaches scamper along the walls and in the cold oven. I watch the ceiling fan going round and round sweeping the panties over my face. The breeze feels good blowing over my dick and nuts. I dig my fingers in my ass, sniff, and enjoy my funky high.

After the last flicker of ash from the joint has darkened, I grow restless and bored, and aim the remote at the flat-screen on the wall. A white guy slobbers over a black man’s dick while being getting beat with a leather paddle. I imagine myself as the white guy, close my eyes and try to jack-off. It’s useless. My dick won’t stay hard. I give up and take a nap until it’s time for me to get up.

The alarm clock blares rudely at eleven-thirty. It’s time for me to rise and put on my other life. I wash between my legs with a wet rag and Irish Spring soap. The strong blend of pine and man-funk drives guys wild. I put on a pair of boxers and scrape my fingers across the windowsill. Some men like squeaky-clean boys and some like to see a little dirt on a guy. A little dirt under my nails and across my arms is a turn on for men into rough street trade—for men who love dirty men. My transformation continues with basketball shorts, a loose dingy tank top, cheap Nikes—no socks and a fake gold grill in my mouth. My Braves baseball cap sits sideways on my head. I don’t care what the monkey said earlier, I’m officially Kenneth Brown, street hustler.

I check and make sure my old Blackberry phone has enough juice. Equitable’s cellphone stays in my messenger bag. Carla, the Assistant VP of Data Services and my second in command, is the only staff member who has the Blackberry’s number. She’s only to use it in matters of life and death. In the world of computers, that means Equitable’s huge mainframe crashed, and we’re losing thousands of dollars as the clock ticks. Carla’s the weekend go-to girl if the Supervisors and Managers can’t resolve an issue. I am me free to ramble.

When I was little, my stepdad used to take me to a barber named Two-Sides one of his church’s deacons. I asked the barber why they called him that. He looked at me and smiled. A man has two sides like a nickel, he answered, Heads or tails. I’m sure I frowned, confused by him comparing himself to a nickel. You’ll understand one day, he said dusting my head with talcum powder.

I grab the fake ID from under my pillow. Kenneth Brown is the tails to college educated, polished Antoine Rucker. I squint my eyes at the mirror on the wall and tighten my lips to mimic Kenneth’s menacing jailhouse mug. As I adjust the gold grill, I glimpse my class ring on my finger. The Morehouse tiger set in a ruby stone has its paws outstretched ready to spring and conquer the universe. However the ring isn’t part of Kenneth Brown’s world. I sit it on a table by the bed and adjust my cap’s bill more to the front so that I don’t look like a silly nineteen-year-old. I slip a stick of gum in my mouth and I’m ready for the block.

It’s after midnight, but the air is hot, dusty, and still as I stride to the MARTA stop to catch the train that will take me to the cuts. The dudes on the corner greet me with, Wha’s up? I nod and grab my crotch. I’m a nigga like them now. They go back to their dice game without giving me a second thought. In a moment the train pulls into the stop. I hop on and sprawl across the seat reserved for the elderly and handicapped. The gold on my teeth shines at me from the train’s window. People cut their eyes and look away as I chew and pop gum. I’m now the thug who could pull a gun and demand the cash in their wallets and purses. This thought makes me chuckle. My paycheck hit the bank at two a.m. this morning—that’s five grand (after taxes) safe and secure on a server behind two firewalls somewhere in the cloud. Kenneth Brown scares the hell out of people.

MARTA lets me off at Peachtree and 8thnear the popular black gay spot, Bulldogs Bar. I bypass the joint and walk down to the corner store to buy more gum. This gives me a chance to check out the scene and see which cars the undercover cops are driving. I make a note of domestic sedans with bare rims and tinted glass. I also watch out for cars with strange antennas in odd places, like the trunk, back window, or rear bumper. Satisfied I’ve scoped out the scene, I walk over to my favorite spot—Juniper and Eighth near a barren peach tree. The streetlamp is out, making the corner dim and inviting. I pull my shorts low and raise the wife beater above my head to the back of my neck. I’m now the shit that draws flies and baby they are buzzing tonight. They circle me.

S’up man? What you doing out here?

Just chilling.

Want a ride?

I’m not sure, Dude. You might be the law.

I ain’t no law, man.

I lean into the car.

Show me some skin, and I might believe you, I say.

After they show me their dick, I hop in. However, I’m still cautious. We continue to spar and feel each other out.

What a pretty nigga like you doing out here?

Like I said. Just chillin. Seeing if my ‘potner’ going to roll through.

Ride with me until your boi shows up.

He drives around the block—eyes shifting between me and other dudes swinging their dicks at him.

So what’s on your mind?

"Just driving round.

He puts his hand on my thigh.

I bet your dick is as pretty as you are."

It might be.

How much to see?

I ain’t showing my dick to no cop.

Man I ain’t no cop. I showed you my shit. You must be a cop—you scared to show me your dick.

Hell naw.

Well, show papa something.

You like that, Daddy? I ask as he fondles and grope. His eyes shine like new buttons. I put it back in my pants after a few seconds.

Yeah. How much to let me taste that?

I start out at sixty bucks. White dudes don’t quibble. Niggas want to bargain. I let him talk me down to thirty. Something about feeling like a cheap piece of ass turns me on. We drive to a secluded spot, and I pull down my shorts. He grabs my dick and wets his lips as he leans over. If I can, I fake coming as much as possible.

Oh yeah, daddy! Oh shit! God damn! I holler as I push him off my dick and wipe myself with a tissue. Hell he did get a chance to touch and stick it in his mouth. What can he expect for thirty funky dollars? It’s going to be a long night. By daybreak, I won’t be able to tell a mouth from an asshole.

I’ve been sucked and fucked in every kind of car you can imagine—from Porsche’s to body wagons. Yeah, one dude cruised me on his way back to his funeral home after picking up a body from the hospital. We went to town right there on the front seat of the van. I was high and didn’t give a shit. Tonight for some reason, I’m getting a lot of young cats my age and straight guys who want to mess around. The full moon brings out the freaks. The night is prosperous. Two hundred dollars makes my left pocket bulge and the stars twinkle sweetly until dawn. I got four more hours to go.

A COUPLE OF POLICE cars pull up behind a car just as I’m exiting. I’m in such a hurry to get out of this dude’s foul-smelling car; I open the door before I can finish pulling up my shorts. The cops turn on their spotlight and get out. An officer grabs and hurls me against the Black and White. The dude in the funky car sweats piss as the police run his ID.

What’s going on, Kenny Boy? This cop think he knows me.

I was just...

Just trying to pull your panties up?

He’s got me leaning over the hood of the squad car, patting me down, grabbing my crotch, and digging into my pockets. My shorts have slipped to my knees and my cap lies on the ground. A small pile of twenty-dollar bills lay crumpled next to my face. Other street boys have vanished into the shadows. Dudes seeing what’s up, turn off the block as quick as possible.

Where you get all this money from?

No law against having money, sir, I say looking him in the eye.

But there are laws against loitering and showing your ass in public. I think you need to go for a ride.

I was more covered up than your mama at the beach last week, I say as he snaps the handcuffs on my wrists.

Shut your smart ass up. He tosses me in the back of the cruiser. Take his ass downtown, Jackson.

The dome light shines on Jackson’s baldhead as he types his report on the computer. Ignoring me, he gets out and gives my trick a ticket for having a cracked taillight. I was careless tonight. I normally avoid cars with busted taillights, burned out headlamps, and expired registrations. They’re magnets for the cops. Jackson warns the guy about the light and about circling a city block too many times. He returns to the car without looking at me and runs my ID. The screen fills with Kenneth

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